Closing arguments in Charles Taylor warcrimes trial

2011-02-08 07:26

Charles Taylor’s warcrimes trial enters its final phase today with the prosecutor’s oral closing arguments on the Liberian ex-president’s alleged warmongering in Sierra Leone.

Prosecutor Brenda Hollis and her team will present arguments to the Special Court for Sierra Leone that Taylor armed rebels who staged one of the most brutal conflicts in modern times, in exchange for illegally mined diamonds.

“Charles Taylor created, armed, supported and controlled the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in a 10-year campaign of terror” that claimed some 120 000 lives until 2001, states the prosecution’s final trial brief – a summary of three years of testimony led in the first-ever international trial of an African head of state.

Thousands of civilians had limbs severed in the civil war which Taylor started “by sending ammunition, weapons and manpower to the RUF and its allies”, according to the prosecution.

“The crimes suffered by the people of Sierra Leone would not have occurred but for Taylor’s supervision and support for the RUF.”

Taylor (62) received “mayonnaise jars” of so-called blood diamonds from the RUF, a handful of which he presented to supermodel Naomi Campbell at a charity dinner in South Africa in 1997, according to testimony before the court.

Lawyers for Taylor, who has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, will present their closing arguments tomorrow, followed by two hours of rebuttal for each side on Friday.

The judges will then retire to consider their judgment, expected in mid-2011.

The trial started in earnest in January 2008 in The Hague for fear that Taylor’s presence in Sierra Leone, where the tribunal is based, could destabilise the region.

The court has heard evidence from 94 prosecution witnesses and 21 for the defence, including Taylor himself.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.